tip of the hat

A few quick grabs from the laptop camera before the year rolls out

Dan’s downtown sitting in with the Dayton Philharmonic tonight. He should be wrapping up well before midnight strikes.

I just got back from the grocery store where I paid extra attention to food labels and even did a little menu planning for good measure.

I’m saying my only resolution is to cut back on the sodas in 2009, but the underlying theme is much bigger: rely less on sugars, make more homemade meals, diversify the diet and generally shoot for a healthier life.

2008 was a fine year.

I went places, met folks, made stuff, moved into a house, lived through the Presidential election, lost a little more hair, and maybe, hopefully, I learned a few things. I should probably set aside some time to reflect and write some of that down, but dag, where’s the time go?

Either way you cut it, I’m looking forward to next year.

To health and happiness, for you and yours.

Current music: The Smashing Pumpkins “Rhinoceros”

8 word reviews for the movies I consumed in 2008

In alphabetical order

I haven’t been writing these down even though I seem to average 2 a month, which is entirely possible because I don’t have kids or the wherewithal to learn CSS. Oh, and I don’t pick favorites just because.

27 Dresses
It was free on a plane ride. Disposable.

Burn After Reading
Just okay, wanted to like more than did.

City of Ember
Darkly pretty but excruciating journey. For moody tweens.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Almost got old,ended on time. Moisturizer reminder.

Ow, my equilibrium. What the? Ow. Huh? What?

The Dark Knight
The opposite of everything that is Spiderman movies.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgot the movie, yet left no bad aftertaste.

Horton Hears a Who!
Thoroughly enjoyed. I’d imagine Seuss would have too.

Iron Man
Kicked much ass. (and five other awesome words)

Indiana Jones and the Nuclear Fridge
You’re kidding. I hate you. Color me suckered.

Journey to the Center of the Earth
I went for the 3D. It was fine.

Juno (2007)
Precious blessing from Jesus in this garbage dump.


Mamma Mia!
Wasn’t near drunk enough, hated every other scene.

Sadly like now: bad sunglasses and hate laws.

No Country for Old Men
Made me squirm, a lot. Scary done right.

Sex and the City
A long episode. Seemed geared toward primetime. Fine.

Slumdog Millionare
Not a romantic comedy. Something heavier, and poignant.

Speed Racer
Expected visual orgasm, walked out with dull migraine.

Sweeney Todd (2007)
Burton works well here. Soundtrack bests Broadway version.

Synecdoche, New York
Layered. Meaty. Salty. Sometimes painful, like Taco Bell.

There Will Be Blood (2007)
Why do I suffer these assholes and their oil?

Tropic Thunder
Ben Stiller made me laugh. Downey continually impresses.

Want! Oh wait, wanting BAD. But so GOOD!

Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Solid choice for date night. Seth Rogan. Bubbles.

American Teen – Australia – Baby Mama – Be Kind Rewind – Beautiful Losers – Cadillac Records – Charlie Bartlett – Choke – Day the Earth Stood Still – Flash of Genius – Four Christmases – Get Smart – Hamlet 2 – Hancock – High School Musical 3 – Harold and Kumar 2 – Kung Fu Panda – Man on Wire – Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist – Prince Caspian – Quamtum of Solace – Rachel Getting Married – Role Models – Secret Lives of Bees – Smart People – Son of Rambow – Surfwise – W. – The Wrestler

Categorized as Movies

I wonder how long this new Pepsi will last…

More swooshy

A fair amount of pixels have been spilled over the new Pepsi rebranding. The mark has even won Top Dishonor from the Brand New folks, while others like it, for what it’s worth.

The more I thought about how I felt about the new identity, the more ridiculous I felt about having any regard or feelings at all.

It’s soda. Headlines declare a financial meltdown threatens the entire planet and here I am considering the choice of thin san-serif.

But feeling I did, and I determined that this makeover is not very manly. What I haven’t determined is if this lack of testosterone is good, bad, or even valid.

It’s definitely hard to imagine a meaty paw at the end of a thick furry forearm reaching for a bottle of this after a hard day of work. But as the retro typeface starts to fade away, maybe there’s a real winner hidden in this rebranding.

Imagine a can with hardly any words at all, just the smiling mark, required ingredients and nutritional information. What’s manlier than no words at all? Feelings are reduced to guttural sounds, arm waving and head nods.

This totally aligns with Pepsi’s Frank Cooper (his title includes VP, portfolio and brands) as quoted in an Advertising Age article about the new look, “We felt like, as we move out of this traditional mass marketing and mass distribution era into today’s culture, there’s an opportunity to bring humanity back, both in terms of the design but also in the way we engage consumers,” he said. “By making the logo more dynamic and more alive.”

I don’t know about all that mass marketing stuff, but the word that sticks out for me is dynamic! Which means the new Pepsi can work with flannel in the lumberyard or on the red carpet with evening-wear.

In the article they speculate on the cost of the new logo (north of a million), to the cost of rolling it out from everything to trucks and vending machines. This entire process of rebranding could top several hundred million dollars.

That sounds like job stimulus to me, which makes me feel better about the whole thing… even the Obama-like “Refresh Everything” campaign.

This probably isn’t the right time to mention my resolution to drastically reduce soda intake in 2009. This decision is independent of any branding measures and purely based on health and wellness.

Categorized as Design

a tin full of cookies

all that remains are these images

The remainder of Christmas Day:

We caught The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is a fine enough flick. I didn’t want Brad Pitt to get younger as much as I wanted to turn on some lamps around the set. Either it was a dark movie or the projectors at the Esquire were dim.

Afterward, Mom sent us on our way with—among other goodies—a tin full of cookies.

The contents did not last very long.

I’m not sure when my mother incorporated Chocolate Covered Coconut Balls into the mix, but it breaks with tradition and I will be petitioning to have them removed from holiday rotation. Luckily, few others share my distaste for coconut so it was easy to find homes for them.

The other good news is that the remaining three varieties (mincemeat, spritz, and thumbprint) rank as all-time favorite cookies, ever.

At an arcade on Christmas Day

Mason, OH

Woke up on the 25th and folded leftovers into omelets.

As the day got on we avoided highways and drove south, meeting up with Dan’s sister and her family. They were staying at a lodge that had an indoor swimming pool.

While A Christmas Story looped on the TV I sat too close to a spread of tasty meats, cheeses, and carbs.

We went down to the arcade and played a bunch of games that spat out tickets—almost had enough for the cool lava-lamp nightlight.

The man behind the counter was feeling generous and gave the prize out anyway, saying there were extra tickets in surplus.

I made short clips of the spinning things and flashing lights. I am obsessed with these things.

Current music: Ben Folds “Before Cologne”

a card for gift cards

wrapping up the holiday

There are a few moments left before this Christmas Day draws to a close, and I just wanted to give a virtual tip of the holiday hat to everyone.

The time when I didn’t wear flannel and a ballcap

The latter half of Saturday

See that boy in the front row with the red flannel pants with white writing? His name is Eddie and we share a birth day. (Should I mention his pants say ‘Got gas?’)

For the last couple years I’ve been going to his party because his parents usually serve really tasty food and they’re all fun to be around.

This year the event occurred on our actual birth days and I thought I’d spiff it up a bit from my usual flannel shirt and ballcap. I walk in the door and there’s a whole crew sporting my signature style yelling, “Surprise!” Some even threw on suspenders for added lumberjackian flair.

I gave ’em my suspect squint and then they brought out a cake with my name on it.

They got me good.

The shared party was fun as usual. I got a gay coloring book among other goodies, I’ll scan in some choice spreads (pardon the pun) and share. Oh and the cake? I’ve been dreaming about its perfectness every day since.

I’m not related to any of these people, but they treat me like family anyway.

Thank ya.

And another big sloppy gushing hat tip to all the calls, comments, notes, cards and calls. As one of the darkest days of the year, it turned out to be mighty bright.

Christmas on my birthday

Santa Picks, from 1957 [ + zoom ]

For all the joy of the holiday, there is an underlying reflective melancholy.

I think Merlin captures this well as he writes about Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” He points out some great history in the lyric of that song. A fine read in which he says that Judy owns that song.

I agree, and Burl Ives owns Have a Holly Jolly Christmas and Bing Crosby embodies A White Christmas.

But I’m digressing from reflection, of which I’ve been doing lots lately, and a little extra today.

It goes with the territory of the season and getting old.

On the matter of aging, I’m constantly losing things. Then I spend half of the waking hour mentally replaying scenes to figure out when and where I lost something in particular. I’m even shaking my fist at the thought that these things aren’t lost, but stolen.

Oh, and my joints are creaky.

And for every hair that falls off my head a gray one appears in my beard.

And that’s just me. When I consider the rest of the world on any matter or level, there are lots of creaky joints.

But all this thinking without considering the good stuff would be terribly vexing—and though I’m not one to espouse that happiness has a price tag, I will relay this bright spot:

Dan and I decided that we’re giving ourselves a dining room table for Christmas. No other gifts, just a table. Trouble is, we couldn’t find one. Nothing fit what we had in mind or our budget. It had to be round, and tall, and seat 6, and be under $250.00.

We finally gave up and agreed that a table from Target would be not only fine, but potentially awesome.

When I was at work, Dan went out, bought it and set it up to my surprise.

Indeed, it does look awesome, and feels awesome.

So as midnight struck and we reveled in what turns out to be a whole new room for our house, I realized that it always seemed I got my birthday presents at Christmas. This year? I got Christmas on my birthday.

And the day continued to be fantastic, but I’ll save that for another journal entry.